How confident do you feel with your business data? Do you often struggle to make decisions because of the lack of clear and concise data in your organization? Do you plan your marketing efforts based on proven numbers or on instinct alone?
The fact is that many organizations run into trouble when they are trying to track all their business data, whether that be new appointments, potential leads, repeat customers or other information. A Customer Relationship Management system (better known as a CRM system) can work wonders in streamlining your data and aligning your marketing decisions with numbers and trends applicable to your business.
What is a CRM System?
A CRM system is a central database where users can store customer information, including potential prospects, contact information for warm leads, previous customer interactions and more.
Some CRM systems also include operational or financial tracking mechanisms, and those without these capabilities often work together with another program that does. For example, many CRM systems that do not offer accounting functions allow data to connect with software such as QuickBooks to integrate information and decrease the amount of data entry.
Why do I need a CRM system?
Having your data aggregated in one easy to access location provides you with decision-making power not otherwise available. A CRM system can track customer interactions and generate insights into the best way to market to customers in the future.
Maybe you have a group of prospects who filled out a form online but never actually set an appointment. With a CRM system, you could segment those individuals and send them an email following up on their inquiry. Or maybe you have a segment of leads who have received a quote for your product/service but never actually purchased anything. You could use your CRM system to pull these specific leads and send them an email or mailer with an additional discount or reward if they move forward with their original quote. Some systems even offer call center functions, so you can program the system to prompt a representative to call out to follow up at certain times.
CRM systems also help you track customer details you may not be tracking by hand. One major element is the lead source for your calls and web inquiries. Companies are always excited to get leads, but if you do not recognize and track where those leads are coming from, you are blind in your future marketing efforts. A CRM system can group lead sources and relate them to costs to give you an immediate understanding of what parts of your marketing are working and what parts should be redistributed. Looking at aggregate data also paints a picture of demographics that are working for you or geographic areas that you potentially need to target more.
All of this data is kept in a single, concise database that you can access from your computer or phone anywhere. Tracking all of this information by hand is technically possible but extremely tedious and time consuming. Plus, as your company grows, tracking the data will become more and more complex. There is no need to force yourself to commit time and effort into tracking data when a CRM system can do it all for you much quicker and more effectively.
Implementation and Use
One of the biggest factors that keeps businesses from using a CRM system is the implementation. Implementing a new system is definitely intimidating, but it is not impossible. The most important element to remember is the old saying “garbage in is garbage out.” You have to be committed to getting the data entered into the system as accurately and in as much detail as possible. Putting in half the data for each contact may seem to work initially, but you are cheating yourself out of potentially useful statistics and reports down the line.
Prior to choosing a CRM system, make a list of the data you absolutely have to capture and a list of data that would be nice to have. Once you have your goals outlined, begin looking at the various CRM systems available and see what options they offer and how they meet/don’t meet/exceed your goals.
Salesforce, HubSpot, Act-On and Marketo are all examples of CRM systems that offer different strengths and tools for their users. Marketsharp is another fantastic CRM system that specializes in the home improvement industry. The key is to find the provider that best aligns with what you are looking to accomplish.
Once you have chosen your new CRM provider, they usually will offer a mass data upload of your current data (if you have a digital system already). At the same time, you have to set up the program’s parameters for your business. Be as specific as possible when you are entering the options for lead sources, contact information and other data you want to capture. You can also begin to build drip marketing campaigns assigned to contacts that fit certain parameters (for example, a lead with a quote who doesn’t buy right away automatically gets a series of 3 emails over a month or two).
The initial setup of the CRM system can be time-intensive, but it is necessary to build a solid foundation. Once everything is up and running, it goes without saying that you have to get in the habit of using the system daily. Do not take the time to implement a CRM system if you do not intend to make its use mandatory company-wide. It will take some time to get used to, but the data entry will become a habit and be well worth it in the end.
There are a variety of options when it comes to CRM systems, and something that works for another company may not work for yours. You must do your due diligence and find a system that aligns with both your short- and long-term business goals. Implementing the system does take some time and effort, but setting it up correctly can make or break the success of the database, and repetitive use is absolutely essential to getting the data that your business desires. A CRM system can transform your company into one that deeply understands the actions of its customers and prospects and builds its marketing accordingly, and this can catapult your business to success now and in the future.
Are you curious about what a CRM system can do for you? Do you have marketing needs that you just can’t handle right now? Jennasis & Associates is a full-service marketing agency that can help you with your marketing efforts, no matter how big or small. Call or email us today to learn more about how Jennasis & Associates can impact your business!
Tracie is a marketing consultant with a passion for helping companies reach their goals. With experience in a variety of marketing avenues, her strengths lie in marketing strategy and management. She is currently getting her MBA at Capital University and hopes to run her own business someday. Fun Facts: she is a vegetarian, loves to bake, and likes hiking state parks in the warmer months.